What is the practical use of a 1-3/4" dia. straight bit?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Rob posted 08-07-2013 10:55 PM 1143 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Rob's profile


704 posts in 3070 days

08-07-2013 10:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router router bit

Everyone knows that common piece of advice about router bits, “Always buy the biggest bit you can afford,” right?

A few months ago I splurged on a 1/2” shank, 1-3/4” diameter Freud bit and it set me back $42. Misinterpreting some routing advice that I read, I thought it would be handy for cutting circles in 1/2” plywood in one pass (without having to rough cut with my jigsaw). I quickly found that was a stupid idea and that I still have to either rough cut my circles or make several passes. In hindsight, it seems like I would have been better off buying a compression bit (since I’m using plywood, after all) and/or just using one of my smaller straight bits.

I also thought another benefit of having a larger bit was that I could feed material more quickly without heating the bit up. However, I’ve noticed that I’ve scratched the paint on the bit’s body (at least, that’s what I’m calling the main hunk of metal beyond the shaft, to which the cutters are attached). The only way I think I could have done this was by feeding the material too fast, but maybe it happened when I was cutting my first circle in a single pass and the router got bogged down.

So, I have a couple questions:

1. At what point does the “buy the biggest bit you can afford” rule start to break down? In other words, assuming the same profile and carbide length, when you reach a point of diminishing returns in terms of diameter?
2. In what situations will I be glad I have a 1-3/4” diameter straight bit? (well…other than bragging rights)

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

10 replies so far

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2037 days

#1 posted 08-07-2013 11:06 PM

Is this the bit you bought?

If so, it’s not made for plunge-cutting holes, that’s what all the different tyes of drill bits are for.
It’s made for routing big-a$$ dadoes or rabbets.

If that’s not the bit you bought, then disregard but please show us which one you’re talking about..

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View Wally331's profile


350 posts in 2024 days

#2 posted 08-07-2013 11:10 PM

I can’t answer your first question, but for the second question, a 1-3/4” diameter bit or the like is often used on router sleds for things like flattening end grain cutting boards. Other then that, maybe a big dado or rabbet like JustJoe said?

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3340 days

#3 posted 08-07-2013 11:12 PM

the bigger the bit
the slower the speed (rotating speed) needs to be
or it will burn its way through the work

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5861 posts in 3193 days

#4 posted 08-07-2013 11:31 PM

That’s the wrong bit for what you described you used it for…...For plunge cutting you need a spiral bit for cutting circles….That bit you got is NOT a plunge-cutter…..But don’t discard it just yet… has other good uses…...Just like clamps, you can never have too many router bits…......

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View Rob's profile


704 posts in 3070 days

#5 posted 08-07-2013 11:36 PM

JustJoe: Yeah, that’s the one. I was able to cut my circle without needing to plunge cut by starting at the edge of the board. Thanks for the tips; big dadoes & rabbets make sense…I guess maybe the 1-1/2” dia. bit would have been a little more practical since it would cut a perfect-sized slot for a 2×4.

Wally: Thanks, I hadn’t thought of that. I’m sure I’ll make a cutting board eventually, so I’ll have to keep this in mind.

Patron: Thanks for the tip. I don’t remember what speed I was using, but I think I had it set to whatever the router manual recommended. I didn’t get any burning but I’ll be sure to double-check the speed when I change between big & small bits.

Rick: Thanks, I’ll have to add a spiral bit to my wish-list. Christmas is only 4 months away!

-- Ask an expert or be the expert -

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3764 days

#6 posted 08-07-2013 11:44 PM

I have a 1 1/2” bit I use on a jig to face joint stock with my router. Get that side flat and then run it through the planer. I bought the bit just for that. Sure beats the hell out of trying to do it with a 3/4” bit.

View muleskinner's profile


896 posts in 2435 days

#7 posted 08-08-2013 12:01 AM

I’d question that “common piece of advice”. Buy the bit you need for the task at hand.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View wunderaa's profile


248 posts in 2201 days

#8 posted 08-08-2013 12:26 AM

Flattening a workbench or slab

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 3764 days

#9 posted 08-08-2013 01:16 AM

Yeah, what he said.

View Loren's profile


10396 posts in 3647 days

#10 posted 08-08-2013 01:24 AM

Cutting tenons on the router table for one. You can
use it like a stub spindle with a rabbeting cutter on
a shaper.

The geometry of the way larger diameter cutters
cut into the wood is different. That’s part of why
in industrial setting very large shaper cutterheads
are used, even when the depth of cut is not
needed. Larger cutting diameters are said to
result in less need for sanding. Tearout may be
reduced as well.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics